Undergraduate Course: Scandinavian Civilisation A: Vikings, Sagas and the Road to Enlightenment (ELCS08037)
|School||School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 8 (Year 1 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||A wide-ranging survey of Scandinavian history and culture (literature, film and the visual arts), with a focus on the Viking Age, the later Middle Ages and the Nordic Enlightenment. At the end of the course, the student will have an understanding of the individuality of the Scandinavian nations, of their shared heritage and their connections with Europe as a whole in respect of the periods studied. No language knowledge is involved and all texts will be dealt with in translation. When available, this course can be taken together with Scandinavian Civilisation B to form a 40 credit block, ideal for outside subjects and full year visiting students.
NB: Scandinavian Civilisation A cannot be taken by students who have previously passed Scandinavian Historical and Cultural Topics.
This course offers a wide-ranging survey of Nordic history and culture from the Mesolithic (c. 8000 BC) to the Nordic Enlightenment (c. AD 1750) and beyond. We begin by defining and distinguishing the key concepts 'Nordic' and 'Scandinavian', the linguistic heritage of the regions concerned, and the core terminology used to compartmentalise and describe their past. We then move on to the evolution of 'Scandinavian' culture from earliest antiquity to the Iron Age, as a longitudinal introduction to our study of the Viking Age.
The survey of 'Viking' culture which follows provides an overview of social structure, worldview and belief, before examining different aspects of the Viking Expansion overseas, and the likely reasons it came to an end. As a natural extension to this period, we go on to explore the discovery, settlement and early society of Iceland, along with the developments which led to the production of the world-famous body of literature known as the Icelandic sagas. This part of the course will include the close-reading and analysis of a shorter saga in translation into English.
Moving on to the Later Middle Ages, we chart the rise and fall of the Danish Empires, the deep-reaching influence of the Hanseatic League, and the profound impact the Protestant Reformation of the mid-16th Century on Nordic society. This leads to a focus on the emergence of Sweden as an 'Imperial power' in the 17th Century and its inglorious decline in the 19th. The course concludes with an overview of the origins and ideals of the Enlightenment as experienced in the North.
Breakdown of Learning & Teaching Activities:
Each week, the students will watch some short videos (c. 5-9 minutes each) to introduce them to the specific themes to be studied [Asynchronous]. These videos are linked to further resources and core reading materials, available via the course Learn page [Asynchronous]. After engaging with these teaching and reading materials, students will complete a computer-marked Multiple-Choice Quiz via Learn [Asynchronous]. The Quiz will test whether the students have absorbed and understood the factual underpinning of a named theme from the required readings. Each week's Quiz will have to be completed before 5pm on Friday of the relevant teaching week.
All students will also be assigned to small autonomous learning groups for the purpose of participating in a synchronous weekly Discussion Group, focusing on several questions relating to the week's specified themes. Each group will discuss these questions amongst themselves before participating in the live weekly Discussion Group, where the whole class will meet synchronously for c. 30 minutes. The weekly Discussion Group Leader from each group will communicate their conclusions to the whole class [Synchronous]. Students unable to attend the discussion group, will be given the opportunity to make an audio recording of their answers and submit them in advance. However, a Discussion Board will also be maintained for students for whom this is not possible, with teaching staff responding to questions posted for the remainder of that week [Asynchronous].
Online Assessments 1 and 2 share a common format. A list of 5 questions for each will be published in the course handbook at the beginning of the semester. One question will be mapped to the content of each week's tuition. In weeks 6 and 12 respectively, students will select two questions from the relevant list, on which to write and submit two, 500-word 'Snap-shots of Scandinavian Civilisation'. Detailed formative feedback will be provided for Online Assessment 1 only.
Potentially Re-Traumatising Content:
In this course, we will be discussing content that may be re-traumatising to some students. Themes broached include misogyny, military violence, and Viking slavery. We believe in the importance of engaging with this material and so please rest assured that we will work with you to ensure you can participate fully and demonstrate your achievement of the learning outcomes of the course, without compromising your wellbeing or your academic development. If you have concerns at any point, we invite you to approach the course organiser Alan.Macniven@ed.ac.uk to discuss how we can best support you in your work on this course. We affirm that you will be treated with dignity and respect in all discussions and at every stage of the course.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| Students wishing to enroll on this course must not previously have taken Scandinavian Historical and Cultural Topics 2 (ELCS08023) OR Scandinavian Historical and Cultural Topics: From Runes to Rock Music (ELCS08034)
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 33,
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 9,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
Leading and Participating in Discussion Group (Formative)
20%: 10 x Weekly Quiz (Grade awarded in increments of 10%)
40%: Online Assessment 1 (1000 words)
40%: Online Assessment 2 (1000 words)
||Students will gain written feedback on their first written assignment providing specific and synoptic advice on the positive aspects of their work, where it could be improved, and how this might be done.
Any student wishing to discuss their results in more detail should make an appointment with the marker.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Demonstrate a broad understanding of the main Nordic historical, social and cultural currents which have shaped Nordic identities from the last Ice Age until c. 1800, as seen through a range of disciplines, using a selection of core theories, principles and concepts.
- Analyse, interpret and critique information and data from a variety of available source materials to compare and contrast ideas, concepts and issues, while taking account of different disciplinary, interpretive, cultural and geographical contexts.
- Use a range of approaches to formulate and present evidence-based responses to specific issues within the common understanding of Nordic history, culture and politics between the Ice Age and c. 1800.
- Exhibit effective communication, presentation and interaction skills using the available range of media and platforms.
- Demonstrate self-reliance, organisation, structured thinking and where feasible, the ability to work flexibly with others as part of a team.
The Saga of Gisli Faulkes, A. (ed.) (2004) Three Icelandic Outlaw Sagas: The Saga of Gisli; The Saga of Grettir; The Saga of Hord. Viking Society for Northern Research
'List of Rig' Larrington, C. (trans.& ed.) (1999) The Poetic Edda. Oxford World's Classics
Carl Linaeus: The Lapland Journey Graves, P. (trans. & ed.) (1995). The Lockarton Press.
Brown, A. (2009) Fishing in Utopia: Sweden and the Future That Disappeared. Granta Books
Booth, M. (2014) The Almost Nearly Perfect People. Jonathon Cape
Derry, T.K. (1979) A History of Scandinavia. George Allen & Unwin, London
Mead, W.R. (1981) A Historic Geography of Scandinavia. Academic Press
Fullerton, B. & Knowles, R. (1991) Scandinavia. Paul Chapman
Meinander H, (2011) A History of Finland. Hurst
Page, R.I. (1987) Reading the Past: Runes. British Museum Press
Brink, S. & Price, N. (eds.) (2008) The Viking World. Routledge
Roesdahl, E. (1998) The Vikings. Penguin Books
Crawford, B.E. (1987) Scandinavian Scotland. Leicester University Press
Graham-Campbell, J. & Batey, C.E. (1998) Vikings in Scotland: An Archaeological Survey. Edinburgh University Press
Woolf, A. (2007) From Pictland to Alba 789-1070. Edinburgh University Press
Sawyer, P. (ed.) (1999) The Oxford Illustrated History of the Vikings. Oxford University Press
Forte, A., Oram, R. & Pedersen, F. (2005) Viking Empires. Cambridge University Press
McTurk, R. (ed.) (2007) A Companion to Old Norse Literature and Culture. Blackwell Publishing
Larrington, C. (1999) The Poetic Edda. Oxford University Press
Byock, J.L. (2001) VikingAge Iceland. Penguin Books
Faulkes, A. (1987) Snorri Sturluson: Edda. Everyman
Warme, L. G. (1996) A History of Swedish literature. University of Nebraska Press.
Roberts, M. (1991 (repr. 2003)). From Oxenstierna to Charles XII. Four Studies. Cambridge University Press.
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Course organiser||Dr Alan MacNiven
Tel: (0131 6)50 3279
|Course secretary||Miss Gillian Paterson
Tel: (0131 6)50 3646